Broadway fans and Disney fans recognize the name of Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The prolific novelist had a side gig as artist. Or make that an artist's artist. Hugo created brown ink and gouache drawings that were admired by Delacroix and van Gogh. He did abstractions before Hilma af Klint. Delacroix declared that, had Hugo become a painter, he would have outshone all his contemporaries. This fall the UCLA Hammer Museum will present a major exhibition of Hugo's moody, freaky, gothic, aleatoric, surrealist, nonobjective, and ultimately political drawings. "Stones to Stains: The Drawings of Victor Hugo" will run Sep. 27 to Dec. 30, 2018.
Shown is Hugo's The Casquets Lighthouse, 1866. It's a stairwell to perdition, with the Romanticism dial turned up to 11.